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Thursday, 19 January 2023

My Morning Routine: Hadeer Shalaby, managing director of Talabat

Hadeer Shalaby, managing director, Talabat: Each week, My Morning Routine looks at how a successful member of the community starts their day — and then throws in a couple of random business questions just for fun. Speaking to us this week is Hadeer Shalaby (Linkedin), managing director at Talabat.

I'm Hadeer, and I'm an entrepreneur. I'm currently the managing director of Talabat in Egypt. My responsibilities include keeping 3k employees happy while ensuring that they are learning and that Talabat is an important part of their professional journey; demonstrating the responsibilities of a large, late stage startup; and serving as a role model for women who aspire to be leaders.

I usually wake up around 8am and have a mini breakfast of a banana or dates to give me energy for my workout. From 8-8:50am, I check my messages, Slack, email, read the news, and make sure there isn't an urgent issue I need to deal with.

I exercise four times a week from 9am to 10 am. I devote one hour to nothing but focusing on my health. Working out in the morning gets it out of the way and allows you to fully awaken, so you almost don't need coffee. Then, between 10 and 10.30 am, I take a quick shower and prepare a proper breakfast, which I sometimes eat during my first meeting at 10.30am.

I try to run or walk for 30 minutes after work and before dinner as much as possible. I have a treadmill and a television in front of it, which makes the time pass pretty fast. Or sometimes I put on the VR Oculus headset, which has a lot of games that encourage physical activity. I also spend the entire day obsessing over my Apple Watch. I stand up every hour when it notifies me, even if I'm in a meeting.

My workday varies. I work in the office two or three days per week, and fill those days with face-to-face meetings. I prefer to meet with my team in person whenever possible. Wednesdays are mainly dedicated to online meetings with our regional and international teams in Dubai and Germany. On Thursday, I try to focus as much as possible on things I need to get done, such as keeping up with emails, personal projects, and following up on certain things.

One constant in my day is that I drink a lot of water — around 3-4 liters per day. I religiously count the bottles of water I drink and I hate it if someone takes a sip from my bottle because it messes up the count. I also have to stay connected to my parents and my husband every single day.

I stay organized by writing things down. Everything in my life is on my calendar. Not just meetings, but outings, family gatherings, and everything else. My wedding and my honeymoon were on my calendar — and I declined by mistake [laughs]. My husband is the same, so if we have a date, it's obviously on the calendar. If something is not on the calendar, it doesn't exist and you can’t hold me accountable for it.

It's easy to become distracted when there's a lot going on, so I stay focused by reflecting. I do it a lot when I'm driving — you're forced not to check your phone. I'm constantly coming up with new ideas and solutions, whether for Talabat, startup ideas, or anything else.

On the professional level, a very big focus for us is profitability. We reached a significant milestone when we became profitable, and the challenge now is to maintain profitability while also maintaining exponential growth. We currently have a presence in over 20 cities and want to provide jobs for more riders, of whom we currently have over 13k. On the vendor side, we try to support and assist SMEs and new vendors. If they make the right kind of investment in their positioning and marketing, and provide a good experience, they have the potential to become a large vendor.

After work, I like to unwind by watching Netflix with my husband and eating good food. I'm a huge foodie so it’s funny that I work for a food company. I'm very specific about what I eat and if my family’s cooking, I provide constructive feedback on everything. My mom and sister both hate it, but my dad loves it because he takes the feedback and works to improve.

I'm currently reading a very cool book, Nudge by Richard H. Thaler, and I highly recommend it. My favorite show is This is Us. A lot of people think it's a lame chick flick, but it's really not. It's about family, raising kids, and the relationship between siblings.

During a college internship someone told me, "Do the dirty work now, so you don't have to do it when you graduate." That motivated me to work hard during my university years. And he was absolutely correct, because when I graduated, I went straight into doing things that required more leadership because I had gained experience through internships and extra-curricular activities.

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